‘Traps in every question’: U.S. Marines blast ‘sham’ religious vaccine-exemption process


from WND:

  • Marine Corps officers seeking religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the process for vetting their accommodation requests is a “sham.”
  • The military says the vaccine mandate is in place to keep the force “healthy and ready.”
  • Republican California Congressman Darrell Issa has been advocating on the service members’ behalf, arguing that if the military wants to preserve readiness, it should pause the mandate.

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The COVID-19 vaccine exemption process in the Marine Corps gives no consideration to the faiths of individual soldiers and could hamper military readiness, according to Marines fighting the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation anonymously out of fear of retribution.

As of Friday, 95% of active duty members of the Marine Corps were fully vaccinated, and another 2% were partially vaccinated, Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz told the DCNF. A total of 334 Marines have been separated with a vaccine refusal discharge code. The Marine Corps has received 3,538 religious exemption requests, and only three were approved, out of 3,414 requests that were processed.

The Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum on Aug. 24, requiring that all service members be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a matter of readiness.

“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people,” the memo stated. The Marine Corps issued its mandate on Sept. 1.

All current requests for religious exemptions, according to Dietz, are being reviewed on a “case-by-case basis” and are “given full consideration with respect to the facts and circumstances submitted in the request.”

A 23-year Marine Corps officer went so far as to call the religious exemption process a “sham.”

Like many others, the officer’s religious exemption request was denied, as was her earlier medical exemption request. The officer, who is now appealing the Marine Corp’s denial, told the DCNF she believes the Pentagon “intends to dismiss all of us.”

“When the appeals come back, and we know that they’re gonna come back denied, the guidance I’ve seen was that the individual’s supposed to receive a written order with enough time to comply, which they’re saying 30 days, 40 days, something like that,” she said. “And, at that time, if they’ve failed to comply, then they’re gonna get out-processed from the military. And, so far, I’ve started to see that take shape.”

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